Category Archives: Design

VIRB Makes It Possible to Create Your Own Website

Not too long ago we wrote about Codcademy, a free resource for learning to code your won website.   Prior to that, we talked about the importance Choosing an E-Commerce Platform for Your Emerging Fashion Brand. Obviously, we think having a spot-on web presence is crucial for the success of your fashion business.  So when we received an email from one of our readers, Rachel of Gregory Apparel, telling us about VIRB, we thought we’d share it with you.

Gregory Apparel e-commerce website

VIRB makes it possible to create your own website without having to know much code at all and charges a very reasonable $10/month.  Not bad.  However, we will say that it seems that VIRB does not support e-commerce but is more for building a presence online and that’s ok if you’re not yet ready to launch you’re own e-commerce just yet. Though we do recommend that you move into that realm at some point.

While we don’t personally have experience with VIRB, Rachel had nothing but great things to say about it.

I just read your article about Codeacademy and I’m very interested in giving this a try but I also wanted to mention that there is another company that makes website building a snap with very little code involved. In fact they have set a user friendly customizable format to help the not so savvy build their own site.  It’s called, they are only about $10 month and I use it. It is so easy to set up. I highly recommend it to any start up company.

I was nervous about my branding when I first started and wanted to have flexibility of changing the site or uploading new pictures of garment as I made them. This lets me make changes easily when ever I need it. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it before but I think it’s worth a look. I’m just figuring out now how to incorporate Google Apps with VIRB so I can have more professional email address for free.  With all of the things I need to worry about in my small business, this is not one of them.  Virb has put my mind at ease. 

So, if you’re looking to create your own site but don’t have time to learn the language of code, this might be something worth exploring.   We saw on their homepage that they offer a free 10 day trial so it seems like there’s not much to lose.

Does anyone else use it? What are you thoughts?

Let us know how it works out for you, if you decide to give VIRB a go.

Do You Design Fashion Based on Trends?

As many trends come and go t like seems like the speed of light, it is important for you, as designers, to know which trends are vital to keep in mind and which ones can be tossed away. In my previous articles, I’ve discussed theimportance of understanding current trends and iftrending tools are always a must. And from these it is apparent that designers should at least know and understand what trends are and how much of an impact they can have on the success of a fashion label.

On one hand, sticking to trends can be a bit of a risk especially when just starting out.  The definition of a fashion trend is a fad, meme or craze that develops among a large population and is collectively followed with enthusiasm for some period of time. This period of time could last anywhere from 1 month to 10 years, making trends extremely chancy and at times unreliable. It makes one think that perhaps sticking to basic and classic designs are a smarter bet.

However, when we look at what is now considered a “classic and timeless style“, we need to remember thatthese seemingly safe concepts were once trends too; trends that were so successful they managed to stand the test of time.  For example, the simple shirtdress was the considered a hot fad in the 1950’s  and women were going crazy to add a piece to their wardrobe. Yet today you can still find women of all ages rocking a variation of this timeless fashion silhouette.

What does this mean?  Well, ultimately it’s up to you as the designer to decide which way you’d would like to go. Designing with trends in mind can assist you in creating pieces that will sell at that very moment that the trend is in demand; marketability and sale-ability are important aspects to successful business and in fashion sometimes risks are necessary in order is see growth.

With that said, if you are more interested in making pieces that will always be desired and therefore live as staples in consumers’ closets, then steering clear of trends would probably be the smarter choice.  Many sustainable designers think this way, as wasteful disposal of perfectly good clothing is something they cringe to see.

In my opinion, it is important for designers to look to where they want to be in so many years. In learning who your customer is, you will be better prepared to make the right decision.

So, what’s the consensus?  How many of you think about and incorporate trends into your work?  We’d love to know.

Fashion Collab Hosts Marketing Workshop for Independent Fashion Designers

StartUp FASHION has teamed up with Atelier36 to create Fashion Collab, an interactive workshop-style event helping independent fashion designers understand and create their digital marketing strategies without breaking the bank.

The event is being held at Studio Arte in New York City’s Garment District on October 22nd, 2012 from 9am- 5pm.

Fashion Collab Digital Marketing Event

As an answer to the many digital marketing conferences out there that seem to cover the overall theory of a successful marketing strategy, we have designed a day where attendees will receive specific information and targeted ideas for their brand rather than general advice on what should be done.

We also took into consideration the kind of event we wanted to create for you and rather than a conference, we have put together a workshop.  Guests will interact with speakers as well as one another.  There will be break-out sessions and lively debates, fun thinking exercises and some good old “fill in the blanks”.

It’s like it your favorite class in school met the best party you ever attended and they had a baby: the perfect balance of education and fun; laughing, learning, making new friends. 

Here’s a list of the sessions we have planned for you:

  • Learn to Identify Your Brand’s Voice and Tell Your Brand’s Story
  • How-To Identify Your Customer and Anticipate Wants and Needs
  • The Designer Debate: To Sell in Stores or Not To Sell in Stores
  • How Content Can Ultimately Drive Commerce
  • Ask the Expert Q&A: DIY Public Relations for Young and Emerging Brands
  • Smart Social Strategy for Independent Fashion Brands
  • Mobile Strategy on a Budget

Check out the Fashion Collab website for a full description of these exciting topics.

In an effort to maintain an intimate and interactive environment, seating is limited to 100 guests.  Early Bird Tickets ($85.00) are on sale now!  Only 25 available!

All tickets are on a first come, first serve basis, so don’t wait and miss out.  We promise you this is going to be a great event!

Collaboration; Carrie Parry Experiments With Fit Technology

One of the biggest issues that any designer faces when selling online is the issue of fit.  Customers want the convenience of buying straight from their device of choice but the worry that a garment won’t fit properly is definitely a concern for most.

To address that issue, designers need to get smart and crafty about putting their customer’s minds at ease.  Some will offer free returns, others will embrace technology and try new things.

One such designer is Carrie Parry, a talented emerging designer who always manages to impress us with her gorgeous designs, ethical practices, and fast growing success.  Her latest announcement is a Fit Trial and Trunkshow with Alvanon an apparel fit expert on December 5th and 6th. 

And you can be involved.

They’re inviting all women between the sizes of two and twelve to  try on Carrie’s Fall/Winter 2012 collection at the Alvanon Headquarters in Manhattan. Simply sign up online, schedule an appointment time, and fill out a quick, five-minute survey on your fit and your size preferences.

When you arrive at the event, you’ll be invited to offer your feedback on the fit of newly-released Fall/Winter 2012 line and receive 50% off any purchase you make. As a bonus, they’ll also be offering a 20% off coupon for a future online purchase of your choice.

Amazing!  I know I’m going.  Will I see you there?

Sign up at and fill out the survey here!

Read here to learn more.

145 W 30th St. Suite 1000
New York, NY 10001

Disclaimer: Must be 18 or older, and agree to certain conditions detailed in a separate waiver agreement.

Fashion Design inspiration at art fair

It is almost Monday and most of us are dreading to go back to work tomorrow. However given the fact that we are so lucky to creatively express ourselves I am sure that we can endure yet another oh so long week. The worst part is probably waking up early and having to deal with the boss… other than that I am sure that you enjoy your job. Right? Admit it! To spark some excitement and perhaps get some ideas going I thought I’d post some pictures of my latest colorful source of inspiration from an art fair that I visited a few months ago. The 3-d sculpture artist Kathy Ross has an interesting way of adorning her sculptural figures. Being a fan of glitz and sparkle I could not walk past the sculpture of the three horses. While some might say that it looks like a craft shop explosion, I find inspiration  for embroideries and graphics in every little trinket of what seems thousands of little details. You can click on each picture and zoom in a bit more.

Ok, so apart from the obvious beads and rhinestones on this view I spot: Cowboy boots, a golden feather, a lady bug, a rose button and a golden rose, at least 2 pretty bows, an argyle button, coin buttons and coins, an upside down cat and a side view of a butterfly.The adornment continues: I see a snowflake button and I just love love the guitar that looks as if it could be embroidered, though I think the details are more beads and buttons. You can zoom into details by pressing ctrl/ cmd and + and use the scrollbar on the side and bottom of the page to move around the image.

I started looking at her other sculptures and found that she uses a collage mixed out of maps, books and musical notes paper to dress this little statue wearing a five-tiered ruffle dress. She also seems to be starved for knowledge as she reads 3 books at once.

This really made me smile and I wrote down her name and web-address to see what other fun thing Kathy Ross creates. Here are 2 more snapshots of images from her site which you visit by clicking here.

While I can’t decide which one is my favorite, I think you can’t go wrong with any of her sculptures called “you are what you read”. What do you guys think? Any one feeling their creative juices going, and if yes, tell me what are you about to design?

Hidden Poop Joke Found in 17th-Century Art Owned By Queen Elizabeth

Art restorations can often uncover surprises—a revealing sketch of the Mona Lisa, say, or a forgotten detail obscured by dirt. Now, conservators who recently cleaned a 17th-century painting in Queen Elizabeth II’s collection have discovered a different sort of surprise: A once-hidden illustration of a man who is … well, pooping.

The Royal Collection Trust, which manages the art collection of the British royal family, found the bizarre detail in a 1643 work by Dutch painter Isack van Ostade. As conservators began to clean the painting, they realized a bush in the painting’s right foreground was not original to the work. When they removed the bush, they discovered a squatting man relieving himself.
A Village Fair With a Church Behind, pre-cleaning (Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II)
The painting, which was displayed for years on the walls of the Buckingham Palace art gallery, has been in the royal family’s collection since 1810. Curators believe that the man was painted over in 1903. In a release, Desmond Shawe-Taylor, a curator who oversees the royal collection, says that there’s a good reason for both the man’s pose and the ensuing cover-up:
Dutch artists often include people or animals answering the call of nature partly as a joke and partly to remind viewers of that crucial word ‘nature’, the inspiration for their art. Queen Victoria thought the Dutch pictures in her collection were painted in a ‘low style’; two years after her death perhaps a royal advisor felt similarly.

Now that van Ostade’s potty humor has been uncovered, the painting’s title, A Village Fair With a Church Behind, has taken on new meaning. This isn’t the first time the Queen’s art restorers have uncovered art booty, though: Another “restored” Dutch painting features a tavern sign that depicts two squatting buttocks. The Dutch may have had a thing for bums, but British royals are now the butt of the joke.
Read more:

For the real hits of fashion week, look to computer science

Fall fashion season is drawing to a close in Paris this week. Among this year’s runway trends are glitter (London),stripes (Milan) and penises (good old New York). For a more detailed analysis of which looks will percolate down to the masses, you might turn to a sartorial mainstay such asVogue. Or you could ask a computer scientist.

It turns out that for identifying general trends, a computer program might be as good a fashion guide as Vogue’slegendary editor Anna Wintour. Researchers from Taiwan and the University of Rochester in New York have developed machine learning algorithms that enable a computer to spot the fashion trends that make their way from the runway to the street. The work may lead to tricks for quickly pinpointing what’s popular with the people, Kezhen Chen, computer science major and study coauthor told me.

Chen started the project while taking a course with the University of Rochester’s Jiebo Luo, an expert in data mining and computer vision. Luo says the research might eventually help garment makers and distributors better tailor the supply side of the chain. This might mean that in the future, stores could keep up with demand if a superpopular style of shoe or shirt is flying off the racks.

To start, researchers trained a collection of algorithms to identify things like a body and clothing. Using a training set of images of people from the Web, the machine learning algorithms mastered identifying a human figure and nine anatomical sections, such as torso, upper left arm or lower right leg. The algorithms also learned to assess features such as color and texture, clothing categories such as “skirt” and elements such as a placket (an opening in a garment, like those at the neck or sleeve of a dress shirt, that can be decorative or that hosts the buttons and button holes, thank you Google).

Then the team created two datasets: One contained thousands of images from the February 2014 and 2015 New York fashion shows and the other contained hundreds of images of people’s clothes gleaned from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter (see #streetchic) from the corresponding spring and summers. (The researchers’ paper, “Who are the devils wearing Prada in New York City?,” will be presented at the ACM Multimedia conference in Brisbane, Australia, at the end of October.)

The computer picked up on several general trends. In the February 2015 fashion show, for example, tank tops, plackets and necks with collars became more prominent, as did longer length skirts. These styles also made their way to the street with similar representation in the street chic dataset as they had on the fashion show set. Blue in the lower body and blue, cyan, red and multicolor items in the upper body also were prominent in both datasets.

The program also spotted modifications to the catwalk styles. People on the street were more likely to wear longer sleeves, for example, and bright colors on both the upper and lower body, while fashion shows kept their brights to the upper body.

If you knew what a placket was before reading this post, congratulations. But if you are congratulating yourself for your lack of fashion knowledge — maybe you’re that person who bucked the trend by wearing bright pants — don’t be too smug. Variations on the fashion show styles were pretty minor compared with the amount of style that did influence the outfits of the masses.

So perhaps Miranda Priestly of Devil Wears Prada (played in the film by Meryl Streep and supposedly modeled after Anna Wintour) was right in that scene where she dresses down journalist Andrea Sachs (played by Anne Hathaway) for thinking the schlumpy blue sweater she’s wearing means that she doesn’t care about fashion. The sweater’s color, Priestly notes, is the direct result of color choices made by the crème de la crème of fashion designers.

“It’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry,” Priestly says, “when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room.”

This Computer Can Track How Fashion Spreads From the Runway to the Street

As algorithms get more sophisticated and humans figure out how to build more intelligent computers, the benefits are reaching new disciplines. Computers have entered the world of fine art analysis and now they’re assessing the sucess of fashion designers, reports a writer for MIT Technology Review.

Researchers at National Taiwan University in Taipei have taught a computer algorithm to recognize the components of an outfit and its style. With their trained algorithm, they’ve shown how street fashion reflects the designs seen marching down the runway at fashion shows.

The algorithm works by first analyzing nine regions on a person’s body: the upper and lower, left and right arms; upper and lower left and right legs; and the torso. According to MIT Technology Review:

[The algorithm] then analyses the color, texture, skin, and so on for each of these areas to create a list that acts like a visual feature vector for the entire body. Comparing fashion styles then boils down to the relatively simple mathematical process of comparing these 72-dimension vectors.
Using that framework, the researchers compared two sets of photographs: one from the New York Fashion Week shows in 2014 and 2015 and another from “street-chic” fashions taken during the corresponding seasons. The researchers write, in the pre-print archive arXiv, “We observe that there are always some classic colors, patterns or styles that have a large amount of clothing images in the fashion shows of every year.”

White, grey and black were popular for the upper body in 2014 and 2015. Solid patterns also dominate. But there were also changes that the algorithm flagged. Unique features in fashion for 2015 as opposed to 2014 included blue, multicolor, red and cyan for the upper body. Blue and purple for the lower body were also notable trends. The analysis revealed mirroring changes in street fashion for the appropriate season.

“We could tell that many people have the penchant to emulate clothing styles shown in the fashion shows,” the researchers write.

However in some cases, street fashion didn’t follow the fashion shows’ trends. Summer clothing for 2015 included light colors on top and bottom, in contrast to the light tops and darker bottoms seen on the runway.
Read more:

CAD saves a pay cheque

New technology such as CAD has dramatically transformed the process of design. It enables students to showcase their work in different perspectives and provides a 360-degree view of a design.  Many reputed fashion designers may choose to initially design their creations manually; CAD software is normally used in the latter portions of the design process.

This programme opens up career opportunities in the areas of fashion merchandising, sales promotion, retail advertising, and other retail activities. A student after the completion of the course will have following job profiles to choose: Fashion buyer, Fashion Merchandiser, Product Designer and developer, Design Consultant & Entrepreneur, Exporter, Retailing outlets, Boutiques & Visual Merchandiser, Production Executive, Quality Control Manager, Sampling Co-ordinator, sourcing manager.

“Fashion is the armour to survive the reality of everyday life.” — Bill Cunningham.

The program in Fashion Merchandising & Retail Management aspires to train fashion management professionals to face the changing trends in the fast moving fashion world.  It enables to understand and interpret the economic macro-scenarios, to anticipate and analyze the changes. The modules helps to understand the strengths and the weaknesses of competitors, to segment and monitor the market, to identify the product and the related production, distribution and sales dynamics and also to envisage new business opportunities for brand development. Most importantly, the course deals with the constantly changing aspects of fashion marketing management from the analysis of the Fashion System to study the eccentricity of fashion marketing and fashion communication techniques, through the use of digital media.

The software is preferred by apparel manufacturers to determine the most efficient marker and to align the patterns in an economical manner. The virtual prototyping enables to check the fit and drape of a garment. Designers can then make any necessary modifications to the design instantaneously. The course provides students with an opportunity to understand the importance of combining technology with creativity for a quality output.

Some of the career opportunities: Fashion Designer, Textile Designer, Illustrator, Pattern Maker or Stylist, Retail Merchandising, Visual merchandiser.


Would you take fashion advice from a computer?

Fashion is a strange, fickle beast. It changes with the seasons, following new styles and the hottest celebrities’ latest looks. What’s cool now could be dorky next week. But it may soon get much easier to keep up, provided you’re willing to listen to the advice of an unfeeling machine – specifically, a computer algorithm that crunches the numbers to give you an assessment as to how fashionable your outfit is and how it might be improved.

The algorithm was produced by researchers from Spain’s Institute of Robotics and Industrial Informatics, along with colleagues at the University of Toronto. It’s built on a detailed analysis of a dataset containing 144,000 user posts from fashion website

To turn the data into a well-defined mathematical model for trendiness, the researchers used a deep neural network coupled with a conditional random field, which helps the computer learn how random elements such as geographic location, background scenery, and ethnicity do or do not predict how fashionable a post is. The learning process considered not only what was visible in the photos but also the number of “likes” received, the tags, and any accompanying comments or descriptions.

From the many levels of analysis, correlations, and evaluation, the algorithm learned how fashion varies by season and city and even age group. Armed with this knowledge, it can now predict with reasonable accuracy whether a given outfit would be deemed fashionable, and offer suggestions for how to dress more fashionably.

The research leaves three big questions unanswered, however: firstly, how quickly could a system such as this adapt to new trends? Secondly, how would it cope with a wider range of body sizes and shapes than appear in a dataset drawn from a fashion-focused photography social network – which would have a tendency, through self-selection, to be dominated by thin young women?

And finally, most crucially, would anyone even consider fashion advice from a machine? Clothing is such a personal, individual thing that, even accounting for the desire to be trendy, it’s hard to believe something like this ever catching on. Fashionistas are too far ahead of the game to benefit, style-conscious people will likely take the word of friends, magazines, and celebrities over that of an algorithm (however accurate it may be), and the rest of us probably don’t care enough to bother.

That said, we’re curious to see how much further the research could go. Just imagine a world where new trends are dictated not by the whims of a few but by the mathematical reasoning of a machine that studies the many. Would that be liberating? Or suffocating?

A paper describing the research was presented at the 2015 Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition in June.

Source: Univsersitat Politècnica de Catalunya